Friday Night Story

Present Tense

“Poor Bill,” she muttered. I furrowed my brow.

“I’m not so sure. I mean, I liked Bill personally, but he was a screw off who constantly put our jobs on the line to cover for him screwing off. Now, maybe that last thing he did, the only thing the company will admit to firing him for, didn’t warrant his dismissal, but you know at least some of the things he’s pulled over the years. It might have been sacrificing a limb, but Bill was no lamb.”

“No, actually more strange to me is the way everyone speaks about him now. He wasn’t taken by a heart attack, he was taken by management- and not behind the barn and shot, either, but “removed”- which I suppose does sound awfully euphemistic, but really, it isn’t. He’s still alive. I’ve seen him at the grocery store, buying grapes. Dead men buy no grapes. And he’s the same jerk, and he’ll probably lose his next job if he continues the way he is.”

“But everyone reminisces about ‘poor Bill,’ and eulogizes and mourns him. He isn’t gone, and, if we wanted, we could call him and visit or whatever. He isn’t past tense.”

“You feeling okay…” she asked without making it into a question.

“No. Yea. I mean… it’s the stress around here, you know. Management went after Bill, but they won’t say why. It’s just impossible not to wonder who’s next.”

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